Printable Version
Pronunciation: blayt-ênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Done openly and unashamedly, completely obvious, revealing things that should not be revealed. 2. Annoyingly loud, coarse, or out of harmony with others.

Notes: Be careful to remember that today's word does not mean "serious", so it cannot be properly used in phrases like "a blatant matter". It also is not an exact synonym of flagrant. Flagrant implies an openly visible and unexpected act, hiding nothing, as a flagrant disregard of the law or Russia's flagrant aggression against Ukraine. Blatant, on the other hand, implies the revelation of something that is better left secret, for example, blatant misinformation, or a blatant lie. The adverb accompanying today's word is blatantly, and the noun, blatancy.

In Play: Remember that blatant may refer to something offensively loud or outspoken: "Crystal Ball has been a blatant critic of all efforts to regulate palm-reading and fortune-telling in our fair city." A musical instrument may be too blatant if it doesn't blend in with the orchestra. The other meaning of today's word describes the expression of matters best left unsaid, "I was appalled at Mortimer's blatant discussion of our plan to blow up the local TV studio," or "At Noreen's cocktail party Marge blatantly told Ullie that she didn't love him any more."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from blatan(t)s "blabbering, babbling", the present participle of Latin blatire "to babble, blabber, gossip". That makes it a close cousin of Swedish pladder "chatter, gossip" and, probably, German plappern "babble, rattle on". Russian boltat' "chatter, blabber" and Serbian blebetati "blab, jabber" are also related to today's word. Apparently this word was introduced by Spenser in The Fairie Queene (1596), and used as an epithet of the thousand-tongued monster that was the offspring of Cerberus and Chimæra. Spenser called his monster "the blattant beast", which Spenser intended as a symbol of calumny. (I will now blatantly express my gratitude to Dr. Margie Sved for suggesting today's flagrantly Good Word in the Alpha Agora.)

Dr. Goodword,

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